Healthcare Roundup—The government shutdown’s impact on Indian Health Service

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The government shutdown is slowing administrative work for the Indian Health Service, plus more healthcare headlines. (Getty/urfingussl)

The government shutdown’s impact on Indian Health Service

The ongoing government shutdown is slowing referrals for some Native American patients seeking care with the Indian Health Service.

IHS is funded by the Department of Interior, which has a budget that’s impacted by the shutdown. As such, about 60% of IHS workers—about 9,000 in total—are working without pay. This has significantly slowed administrative work, and some patients say it’s impacted their access to referrals.

Some regions are considering cutting funding to some programs if the shutdown continues. Seattle’s Indian Health Board is looking at potential cuts to an in-patient treatment center and a traditional medical center if the shutdown continues for another week or two. (The Associated Press)

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State, federal inspectors visit Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Florida and federal inspectors have come to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital amid the ongoing fallout after problems in its heart surgery unit surfaced.

Details on the scope of the investigation are scant. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it was an “ongoing review,” and a state Agency for Health Care Administration spokesperson confirmed it had also visited.

An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times found that mortality rates at the hospital’s Heart Institute tripled between 2015 and 2017. (Tampa Bay Times)

Urgent care centers proliferate around Boston—but not in its poorest neighborhoods

Urgent care centers are popping up around Boston, but they’re not flocking to meet patients in the poorest neighborhoods.

For many firms operating urgent care facilities in the region, a fraction of business comes from Medicaid, the Boston Globe found. Two of the largest operators, American Family Care and CareWell Urgent Care, treat, respectively 11% and 2.5% of patients on MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

CVS MinuteClinics in the region also rarely treat MassHealth patients, with just 5% on Medicaid. Meanwhile, many Medicaid patients still go to the emergency room, the newspaper found.

“There are a lot of issues around these urgent care centers that trouble me,” state House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano said. (Boston Globe)